Support continues to pour in for the IAH Demonstration Project and its’ viability for long-term success. DMHC was one of only 16 practices nationwide to be selected for the ground-breaking demonstration when it began in 2014. The Demonstration seeks to determine if Medicare can reduce costs and improve outcomes for the highest risk Medicare patients by providing ongoing primary care in-home.
Prior to the launch of the IAH program, too many patients called EMS and made trips to the hospital that might have been preventable. Upon release, these same patients who still lacked access to home-based primary care, found themselves caught in the same cycle of recurring illness, a call to EMS, an unnecessary trip to the hospital and a costly admission or readmission. The DMHC care model breaks the cycle, drives better outcomes and significantly reduces costs.
DMHC is proud to report that among the 16 practices participating in IAH, Doctors Making Housecalls has proven most successful at reducing unnecessary expenditures on emergency room visits and hospitalizations, and in bringing down 30-day hospital readmissions. And, we were the only practice to succeed in all six of the program’s demanding quality of care measures for two years in a row.
Participants of the Independence at Home initiative are experiencing better care and improved health and have fewer hospital admissions, better discharge and medication compliance and are more able to rely on their home-based primary care doctor for help managing complex chronic conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, COPD, asthma and infection.
5% of Medicare beneficiaries with multiple chronic conditions account for 50% of Medicare’s costs. The IAH Demonstration, a key initiative of the Affordable Care Act, has proven to be overwhelmingly successful in reducing those expenses and their burden on the US healthcare system.
In the first performance year alone, the project lowered costs by $25 million (or $3,070 per Medicare beneficiary) spurring Congress to extend the IAH Demonstration through May of 2017. But these hard-to-ignore results have continued through the second full year of the demonstration prompting a recently introduced bipartisan bill to make the program permanent.
One sponsoring senator, Rob Portman (R-Ohio) remarked, “I have seen the benefits the Independence at Home program has provided for seniors in Northeast Ohio during the demonstration program—it has reduced hospital readmissions, prevented costly hospital and nursing home admissions, and most importantly kept patients healthy and in their preferred care setting,” Senator Portman said.
Similarly, Senator Edward Markey (D-Mass) noted, “It’s time to turn the successful experiment that is Independence at Home into a nationwide practice. We can design Medicare so that it works smarter, not harder for its beneficiaries. Independence at Home allows teams of doctors and nurses to continue to care for severely ill Medicare patients in the home, bringing the housecalls of yesteryear into the 21st century.”
In addition to Portman and Markey, the bill is co-sponsored by John Cornyn (R—Texas) and Michael Bennet (D—Colo.)
With news of the bill, Dr. Mindy Fein, President of the American Academy of Home Care Medicine, said in a statement, “IAH successfully fills a critical gap in health care for our frail and elderly that few programs have been able to achieve. Independence at Home will help care providers better coordinate care management, reduce costs and allow individuals to have more control over their care plan.”
If approved, the bill would make the program permanent within 18 months after the date of the legislation’s enactment.